Travel to Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon
TJ’s hotel reviewers headed to Las Vegas and Portland to experience the best places to stay and most entertaining things to do. Here are a few of our favorites.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is known around the world for gambling, entertainment, shopping, and fine dining. However, “The Entertainment Capital of the World” is not just for the party crowd. It has fun for the whole family.
Where to Stay
Award-winning: Wynn Las Vegas
It’s certainly a Wynn-Wynn situation at the classy and mature Wynn Las Vegas as the Wynn and the adjacent Encore hold more Forbes Travel Guide Five Star awards than any other independent casino resort in the world. Named after casino developer Steve Wynn, the resort has earned top Forbes, Michelin, AAA, Mobil and Zagat Survey ratings. It makes for a sophisticated stay in Vegas.
What we love:
• A true luxury vacation in terms of the accommodation and casino, as well as the shopping and dining experiences
• The exceptional golf course adjacent to the hotel
• The spellbinding show Le Rêve
Luxurious comfort with impeccable service: Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas offers luxury combined with Asian-inspired sleek design and superior service. The exclusive VIP atmosphere provides a welcome escape from the bright lights and clamor of the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel, spa and Twist restaurant all received Forbes Five Star Awards in 2014.
What we love:
•The 23rd floor lobby and Mandarin Bar’s stunning and dynamic panoramic view of the city
•Lack of a casino means guests can enjoy faster room access while avoiding long waits for the valet
•The classy valet closet provides privacy as hotel staff can pick up your laundry or drop off a newspaper without entering your room
Relaxing luxury off the Strip: JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
The Marriott resort is an excellent choice for conventioneers or a corporate retreat as its Summerlin location (15 minutes from the Vegas Strip) allows guests to get a taste of Vegas without being overwhelmed. It appeals to those who would rather be surrounded by gardens and golf courses than slot machines and neon lights. Try a Marriott suite and feel like a king for the day!
What we love:
•Access to the members-only Tournament Player’s Club Golf Course next door
•Quiet resort casino plus free shuttles to the Strip casinos
•Enjoy an excellent breakfast buffet and then rent a cabana by the pool
What to See in Las Vegas
David Copperfield is the most commercially successful magician in history, according to Forbes. Over the past three decades, he has been awarded 11 Guinness World records, 21 Emmy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a knighthood by the French government. At age 57, he’s still got it. Humor, storytelling and illusions that baffle the audience from start to finish. It really is fun for the whole family. Although he does a few tongue- in-cheek adult humor jokes, he does so with such tact that you can safely bring the children along. If you see one magic show during your stay in Vegas, the greatest illusionist of our time is the one to see at the MGM Grand.
Cirque du Soleil is world-acclaimed for its acrobatic theatrical productions. With “O” (eau – pronounced o – is French for “water”), the French-Canadian troupe has centered their breathtaking acrobatics around a 1.5 million gallon pool. The ever-changing dreamscape performance has such an abundance of stunts and tricks, you can easily find yourself wanting to watch the show again and again. See “O” at Bellagio. You won’t be disappointed.
Le Reve (The Dream)
Very similar to “O,” but in a small- er circular theater where every seat is the best seat in the house, The Wynn’s “Le Rêve” is an aquatic acrobatic performance that keeps you on the edge of your seat with the sheer grace and physical beauty of the performers and nail-biting acrobatic feats. And like “O,” “Le Rêve” is a show you can watch repeatedly. There is action on the ground, mid- air and near the ceiling, and thus the audience gets to choose where to focus their attention.
Portland is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world with abundant outdoor activities and a number of marvelous microbreweries and tasty coffee.
Things to do
• Hiking trails and parks galore
• The Portland Japanese Garden – see the beautiful koi fish and in the fall, the gorgeously bright red and gold Japanese maples
• Lan Su Chinese Garden
• The Shakespeare in the Park summer festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival in July
• Portland Saturday Market and Portland Farmers Market
• Great golf at Eastmoreland and Heron Lakes (among the top 75 public courses in the U.S., according to Golf Digest)
Where to Stay
Trendy: Jupiter Hotel
For a taste of Portland’s culture and local scene, try the retro-trendy Jupiter Hotel, a boutique hotel located in central Portland amid restaurants, bars, clubs and boutique shops. An older building with newly renovated rooms, each room is unique with a giant mural including such stars as Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and even Buddha!
What We Love:
• For a fun, drive-free night try the adjacent Doug Fir restaurant with great food and friendly service. The Doug Fir Burger is highly recommended! The basement club was one of Rolling Stone’s Top 20 Best Clubs in America in 2013
• Free Wi-Fi and dog friendly. You can also get free freshly brewed Portland-grown coffee in the lobby every morning
• Very social atmosphere. It’s a great place to meet new people both in the hotel courtyard and at the Doug Fir
Luxury: The Nines
For a luxury hotel, try The Nines. Its location next to Pioneer Courthouse Square and the central business district allows guests to shop at nearby boutiques, dine in the trendy Pearl District, or hop on the eco-friendly MAX Light Rail to explore Portland’s beautiful gardens, museum grounds and chic neighborhoods. The hotel’s concierge team can arrange day trips to the mountains, wine country and beyond.
What We Love:
• Its accolades include Condé Nast’s Readers’ Choice Awards, Travel & Leisure’s 500 list of top-rated hotels around the globe and America’s Best Affordable Hotels, The Guardian’s Top 10 Places to Eat in Portland, and more
• A fascinating art collection and library of more than 3,000 books for guests
• The building’s historical heritage. It has housed the flagship store and headquarters of retailer Meier & Frank, a radio station, pharmacy, pet store and deli, and it has served as Clark Gable’s pre-Hollywood place of employment
The complete article can be found in Issue #275 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.